'MAYDAY' Distress Hailing

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by brian eiland, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Something either I didn't know, or had forgotten.

    Q: Why do ships and aircraft use 'mayday' as their call for help?
    A: This comes from the French word m'aidez -meaning 'help me' -- and is pronounced, approximately, 'mayday.'

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayday
     
  2. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    SELONCE MAYDAY And Pan Pan and Securitie ?
     
  3. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    We have radio operators that speak in English and I am in an English speaking country. As such:

    It is better to make an emergency call as such. "Help me I am sinking," or "Help me I am on fire."

    Then without waiting for a response immediately give your position.

    Then request a response.

    In an emergency it is important that you give a clear message of the problem and your position because you do not know when your electrical system ie radio is going to go down.

    It is all very nautical to stuff around with "Ahoy There!" and "Steady as she goes". "Arrr there be a storm brewin' skippa."

    But in a real emergency intelligence has to prevail.

    In international waters however, Maday is internationally recognised, but my 6 metre tub aint going there.

    Poida
     
  4. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    As a Search and Rescue Tech and a licensed, commercial tow boat operator I am aware of, and listen for, the standard protocol sequence of information on a distress call. If reception is poor or my environment noisy it can really help clarify what I am hearing so that I have the most info available to render assistance effectively.

    -Tom
     
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Remember...Mayday does not mean Im sinking, Im aground, Im whatever......It means, I REQUIRE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE.
     
  6. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    ..the use of traditional words in the marine game is unfortunately something that is being lost (especially in the USA) terms such as port and starboard are being lost to left and right, sad really as they took thousands of years to "perfect".

    MAYDAY for instance, used means, as michael says, I require immediate assistance.
    Now if you asked for that over the radio, you may have a certain accent that the reciever does not really pick up on very fast, if you say MAYDAY, even non english speakers immediately KNOW what you are asking for, and can respond as such. Trying to hear different accents over the radio, then lestening thru crackle etc to a message is time wasted to decipher what is required....MAYDAY says it in one word.

    Now back to port and starboard...quite definitive really chaps, port is left and stb is right when facing fwd. When facing aft the sides are still simply defined as the left side is stb and the right side is port...the boats sides do not change, from the centreline aft.
    If you ask someone to go to the stb side and release the sheet on the last cleat, he knows exactly which one to go to...try asking them to release the sheet on the right side....right side of what...facing which way....where is it. WTF.

    In todays changing world, traditionmal terms are not only nice to hear, they are "traditional" and as such should be retained, same as collecting antiques I guess.
     
  7. yipster
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    yipster designer

    Most little older modern marifoons use... Forgot the term as the unit was stolen in no time
    anyway, these units have a mayday button that also sends gps location
     
  8. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    Next you'll be trying to tell me there is a special name for the pointy end and the blunt end of a boat!!

    Poida
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If I hear Mayday, I immediately pay attention. If I hear some traffic and then a position, most likely will ignore it. That means that if someone is calling saying he is sinking, I and most people are likely to ignore it.
     
  10. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I definitely agree with Sub Tom and Landlubber. The proper use of a VHF radio makes for well understood communication. Much better than leaving potential rescuers with ambiguous information.
     
  11. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Digital Selective Calling or DSC.

    Good for extreme, single handed, gotta get off the boat right away and I don't have a handheld, Mayday but always best to follow up with a voice Mayday. Your greatest chance of immediate assistance lies with a vessel of opportunity who hears your Mayday call. If they don't have DSC...

    -Tom
     
  12. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    DSC is valuable because it transmits position, vessel ID , nature of distress and has far greater range that voice transmission. Most people seem to not know how to use them. In the US do you need a GMDSS operators licence to fit DSC
     
  13. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    No you do not need a GMDSS license to use DSC VHF in the USA.
     
  14. murdomack
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    murdomack New Member

    Back in the day when boat owners would be expected to have what was called a restricted wireless opertors license, everyone knew how to make an emergency call and the rules governing radio silence while the Mayday was in force.
    You had to repeat Mayday three times so that the receiver was in no doubt and would be paying attention when you give the vessel name and position and the cause of distress, number of people aboard and the situation report.

    I'm not sure, since the new DSC radios came in, that we have a listening watch, in the UK, anymore. I imagine that was someone dedicated to radio monitoring. It is probably just on in the background nowadays so keeping to the Mayday procedure is more important than ever if you want to be heard and saved.
     

  15. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    DSC " digital " is intended to clean up the airways. Many Many Many recreational boats in the world these days. Channel 16 ,during the silly seasons, is at times impossible to monitor because of all the backround hailing and chat. Pity the poor Coast Guard radio operators.

    Also consider that your first line of defense in an emergency are boats nearby, not far off shore stations. DSC addresses this

    Also concider languages. Only commercialy liscensed GMDSS operators are required to be fluent in English.
     
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